MEET OUR 2024 HEART
MONTH AMBASSADOR

About Dr. Rob Beanlands

We’re honoured to introduce Dr. Rob Beanlands, MD, FRCPC, as our 2024 Heart Month Ambassador.

He is an award-winning Cardiologist, former Chief of Cardiology, the current Deputy Director General and the Incoming President & CEO at the Institute.

This year, Dr. Beanlands will help promote February is Heart Month and is a true example of the talent and commitment we can foster with your contribution.

Q&A With Dr. Rob Beanlands

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE OUR 2024 HEART MONTH AMBASSADOR?

My father taught me that an important part of good medicine is when we dare to have the courage to innovate and create new ways of delivering care.

Leadership is service. This is your Heart Institute, and we are here for you.
February is a very special time as we highlight our annual February is Heart Month Campaign. As this year’s Heart Month Ambassador, I am excited to bring you stories and the impact of the work that is being done every day.

WHAT ARE YOUR EARLIEST MEMORIES OF THE INSTITUTE?

Without exaggeration, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) is like a second family to me and a second home, as we have grown up together. The Institute has been a constant part of my life since I was 17. Alongside co-founder, Dr. Wilbert Keon, my father Dr. Donald Beanlands, moved our family from Toronto to help establish the UOHI back in 1976.

It was an exciting time at the Beanlands residence—the house was abuzz with activity. We were witnessing the birth of the Heart Institute right at my kitchen table. With each day, something new was being created.

My father and mother regularly hosted a journal club for the medical students and residents. Many doctors and visitors came from other hospitals in Canada and around the world. They dropped by our home for a meal and to compare notes. At dinnertime, my father enthusiastically shared the names of new recruits, and he was so proud of the many ‘small wins’ that happened while putting together the first-of-its-kind healthcare team. Much like how we view a tech ‘start-up’ company now, we were ahead of our time. We were visionary in our approach to building an innovative cardiac care hub unlike anything else.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Constant conversation, cooperation and innovation are great ways to sum up the Heart Institute. In any given week, our doctors, nurses, and medical staff collaborate and share the stage with other world-renowned cardiac centres like the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics. We also have regular visiting trainees and medical staff from top medical schools around the world looking to observe and learn our techniques and the ways in which we provide our excellent care.

UOHI is among the top ten Institutes in the nation and ranks in the top 3% for research worldwide. We are highly rated for patient care and satisfaction.

Quoting the words of the environmental motto, Geneviève emphasizes, “We think globally but act locally.” These are the discussions we have around our kitchen table, much like the family dinner conversations I had growing up with my dad and mom.

WHAT’S THE VISION FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER OF UOHI?

In the past, we were viewed as a ‘diamond in the rough.’ And through the years we have established ourselves as a true gem.

Now, our future vision is “heart health for all.”’

We continue to explore more opportunities to deepen and strengthen our commitment to heart health excellence in our community. To support this next evolution, we must invest in and embrace a range of technological tools but not lose sight of the value of the human touch. Connections between people are essential to excellent treatment, as well as open communication between patients, their families, and their heart teams.

Every patient, whether you are in Barry’s Bay, Pembroke, Cornwall, or Alexandria, must receive the same level of care as those who happen to live right next to the Heart Institute, on Ruskin Street in Ottawa. Now is the time to close gaps in cardiac healthcare.

We have made great strides, but there is more work to do.

WHY IS COMMUNITY SUPPORT SO CRITICAL FOR HEART HEALTH IN OTTAWA?

Together, we are helping to treat and cure heart disease—the number one killer worldwide. The Institute needs partners to support our work.

Your investment powers ground-breaking research that uncovers discoveries for future treatments. You will support the latest advancements in training for the next generation of healthcare professionals.

You helped us to build this beacon of cardiac care, which now treats hundreds of thousands of heart patients across the region and beyond. Each day, they arrive from as far away as Nunavut, Newfoundland & Labrador.

Today, with your help, we can ‘lead the charge.’ It does take courage to continue innovating and trying new things, but it is the right thing to do for the people we care about.